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Continuum History of Apocalypticism by…
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Continuum History of Apocalypticism

by Bernard McGinn

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I’m currently reading the book, The Continuum History of Apocalypticism, edited by Bernard J. McGinn, John J. Collins, and Stephen J. Stein (2003). This book consists of three main parts: (1) 8 article on the origins of apocalypticism in the ancient world; (2) 7 articles on apocalyptic traditions from late antiquity to cs 1800 C.E.; and (3) 10 articles on apocalypticism in the modern age. This book is a condensation of The Encyclopedia of Apocalypticism, 3 vols (1998).

Since the word “apocalypticism” is ambiguous, the authors of this book have not attempted to impose a strict definition of apocalypticism, but to include a broad range of materials that may be regarded as apocalyptic in various aspects. For example, Richard J. Clifford traces the roots of apocalypticism in ancient Near Esastern myth, whereas Anders Hultgard provides an exposition of Persian apocalypticism.

In my view, the articles in this book do an excellent work on the variety of the genre “apocalypticism.” Their works invite us to think about the following questions: ”How would you define the genre of apocalypticism?” “What do you see in both ancient and modern writings that could be cateorized to the genre?” Like all other encyclopedia contribute to their own fields, this book contributes to the discussion on the literature of apocalypticism.

The editor see that apocalypticism, throughout the history, not only has been the source of hope and courage for the oppressed, but also has given rise to fanaticism and millenialism. The following quotation may explain well their goal for collecting the articles to this book:

The essays in this volume seek neither to apologize for the extravagances of apocalytic thinkers nor to excuse the perverse actions of some of their followers. Rather, they strive to understand a powerful, perhaps even indipensable, element in the history of Western religions that has been the source of both good and evil, and still is today.
  jinyangkim | Feb 10, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0826415202, Hardcover)

"Apocalypticism has been the source of hope and courage for the oppressed, but has also given rise, on many occasions, to fanaticism and intolerance. The essays in this volume seek neither to apologize for the extravagance of apocalyptic thinkers nor to excuse the perverse actions of some of their followers. Rather, they strive to understand a powerful, perhaps even indispensable, element in the history of Western religions that has been the source of both good and evil, and still is yet today."The Editors The Continuum History of Apocalypticism is a 1-volume, select edition of the 3-vol. Encyclopedia of Apocalypticism first published in 1998. The main historical surveys that provided the spine of the Encyclopedia have been retained, while essays of a thematic nature, and a few whose subject matter is not central to the historical development, have been omitted. The work begins with 8 articles on "The Origins of Apocalypticism in the Ancient World," extending from ancient Near Eastern myth through the Old Testament to the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jesus, Paul, and the Book of Revelation. Next are 7 articles on "Apocalyptic Traditions from Late Antiquity to ca. 1800 C.E.," including early Christian theology, radical movements in the Middle Ages, and both Jewish and Islamic apocalypticism in the classic period. The final section, "Apocalypticism in the Modern Age," includes 10 articles on apocalypticism in the Americas, in Western and Eastern Europe, and, finally, in modern Judaism and modern Islam.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:29 -0400)

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